The Ubangis - I suppose it is time to see a DC band that has been around 20 years for the first time (I am sure there are more out there if I really dug in and sought them all out). These guys are a trio of guitar, bass, and singing stand-up drummer. They have a few instrumentals in their arsenal and really have a strong Link Wray sound (I almost said link to the Wraymen for those that know how my brain works). It is almost too composed as their energy seems to slip mid-set. They come back well however, and end a good note. Not earth shattering, perhaps a touch of psychobilly here an there might be fun, but still a decent enough set and well placed before tonight's headliners. And extra credit goes to the band for nicknaming guitarist Randy Manos, 'the Hands of Death'.
photo: Audrey Phain
That said, it was not a disaster as the band started off with a Byrds cover which appropriately set the stage for their west coast jangling, engaging and rocking guitar interplay. The rhythm section is rock solid and their songs are really welcome on the live stage with all the glorious hooks and sway. Vocally, Chris Wilson was a little more ragged than I expect but he and Cyril Jordan pulled it off well enough. So this was a worthwhile make-up for the U Street debacle. It was not magical, but it was high quality power pop music delivered by a band that should have connected better with larger audiences long ago. I enjoyed my night out, as did most of the crowd.
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